At Sweet Aroma Coffeehouse & Bakery, Owners Kim and Mark Sementa are bringing friends and neighbors in Colchester, Connecticut, together with terrific espresso-based coffee drinks and fantastic homemade baked goods.
“Even amid the COVID-19 pandemic, we saw the need for a family-friendly gathering place for our community,” Kim said. “We wanted to share our love for coffee and my recipes for homemade cookies, muffins, cupcakes and more!”
Their new shop invites guests to gather in comfortable indoor and outdoor seating. Larger groups meet in the dedicated community room.
Creating Sweet Aroma from the Grounds Up
After owning a liquor store for 10 years, the couple knew how important customer service would be in building their new coffee business. Kim’s skills as an accountant and bookkeeper gave them the business foundation to succeed.
Still, a lack of coffee industry experience loomed as an obstacle to opening Sweet Aroma.
To gain specialty coffee savvy, the couple reached out to Crimson Cup.
“We knew we needed help, but didn’t want to be a franchise,” Mark said. “We liked what Crimson Cup brought to the table with their support package.”
Sweet Aroma Follows the 7 Steps to Coffee Shop Success
After calling Scott Fullerton from our 7 Steps team, the couple began learning how to open and run a successful coffee shop.
“We’re excited to help Kim and Mark grow Sweet Aroma using the same proven process that has helped over 150 coffee shop owners in 30 states achieve their dreams,” said Crimson Cup Founder and President Greg Ubert.
Greg’s book, “Seven Steps to Success: a Commonsense Guide to Succeed to Specialty Coffee,” forms the program’s foundation.
The 7 Steps program is so successful that, even during the 2020 pandemic, we helped 19 entrepreneurs open new coffee shops. At least another 20 shops plan to open in 2021.
“Now is an exceptional time to open an independent coffee shop,” Greg said. “Specialty coffee demand grew over 50 percent over the past five years, and discounted locations are open in many communities.”
From writing a strong coffee shop business plan to finding an ideal location, marketing support and much more, 7 steps trainers guide new coffee shop owners from just dreaming to opening their business and beyond.
A Proven System with Award-winning Coffee, Hands-on Training and More
“Crimson Cup delivers terrific service, incredible coffee-shop products and excellent training,” Kim said. “The drinks are fantastic. As long as we follow the recipes, we can’t go wrong!”
Mark said systems were easy to use and efficient. “Everything is thought out,” he said. “Crimson Cup knows exactly what they’re doing.”
The couple found Step 5: Focus on Training the most valuable of the steps.
“We couldn’t have done it without the help of 7 Steps Trainer Steve Bayless,” Kim said.
Steve came to Connecticut before the shop’s opening to show the couple and their baristas how to prepare drinks using the equipment in their shop.
He stayed on site a full week to train them in all aspects of coffee shop operations and will return to help with the shop’s grand opening celebrations later this year.
“Although there are a lot of coffee and barista schools out there, it’s hard to learn everything in a classroom over a few days.” Greg said. “Our experience is that on-site training costs the coffee shop owner less. Plus, you remember more of what you learn by doing.”
In the shop’s first week, the couple began receiving positive feedback on the coffee, roasted at our Columbus roasting facility. C
“They say the coffee is delicious!” Kim said. “So far, we’ve received the most compliments on the vanilla latte and the Italian sodas.”
In the past five years, our coffee has won several national coffee awards – including a 2020 Good Food Award recognizing the country’s best tasting, most responsibly sourced coffees.
Advice on Opening a Coffee Shop from the New Owners
Asked what advice he has for those who are considering opening a coffee shop, or adding coffee to their existing bakery or café – Mark said, “Get yourself a good consultant with Crimson Cup. Don’t try to go it alone!”
“Opening a coffee shop would be nearly impossible if you don’t have prior coffee experience,” he added. “Even then, a barista only knows so much. You have to learn how to run the complete business.”
Sweet Aroma is open six days a week at 139 South Main Street in Colchester, Connecticut. To keep up with events and announcements – including the shop’s Grand Opening celebrations – follow the store’s Facebook and Instagram pages.